It’s always a great day when you’re in Napa. But today, I felt a sense of deep rooted appreciation for what the Napa Valley brings us. Some of the best wines in the world, five star Michelin rated restaurants, and old olive groves that produce extra virgin olive oil can be found in this beautiful valley. Napa Valley is truly one stop shopping for the foodie who craves utilization of all five senses. I found that I was lucky enough to experience and enjoy all five in one location, Long Meadow Ranch in St. Helena. Let’s start with…
Lunch at Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch
As we step inside an old transformed barn, I see the rustic decor that fills the space – wood tables and chairs, old farming tools decorate walls, and metal hay hooks used as light fixtures hang from the ceiling. The sun is streaming in from the windows that give you views of the gardens outside. Although the restaurant is full of people (always a good sign), their chatter is soft and muted. Farmstead has a good vibe that makes my guests and I feel comfy and cozy within it’s warm and welcoming walls.
Farmstead has a “farm to table” menu that uses local and organic ingredients, featuring Long Meadow Ranch grass-fed beef, vegetables, and of course, extra virgin olive oil. The menu does not lack in options and everything sounds delicious. The aroma that fills the room makes my stomach growl for something hardy. Sticking with the “farm” theme, I decide to have the Pulled Pork Sandwich that has been smoked for 12 hours with a nice glass of Farmstead Pinot.
I’d like to say that I would have taken a picture, but this sandwich was so delicious I couldn’t wait to eat it! However, I did manage to take a picture of dessert. Saving the best for last and keeping with the theme of the day (olive oil tasting), I ordered the Griddled Olive Oil Cake for dessert. One word – Yummmmmm!
Olive Oil Tasting at Long Meadow Ranch
The historic Logan-Ives House, a restored farmhouse originally built in the 1870′s, has become the Long Meadow Ranch wine and olive oil tasting room. As we step inside and sit at the bar, I again notice the warm decor. Unique gift items line shelves, wine bottles are carefully racked, and fresh flowers (from their farm no doubt) sit on the table. All beautiful things in an unpretentious setting. We are instantly greeted by a friendly gentleman, Ed, who makes us feel right at home.
Ed sets us up for our tasting while telling us the history of Long Meadow Ranch. I find his stories fascinating based on his enthusiasm and love of the Napa Valley. I won’t go into detail, you’ll have to visit yourself, but I will share something that is unique about Long Meadow Ranch that no one else in the Napa Valley can claim.
History of Prato Lungo
Long Meadow Ranch has the oldest olive orchards in the Napa Valley planted on their estate. They are estimated to have been planted in the 1870′s, but were long forgotten after prohibition in 1920. In the 1990′s, the olive trees were rediscovered while riding on horseback. Hidden by overgrown trees, the historic orchard was brought back to life to produce olives for Long Meadow Ranch’s extra virgin olive oil, Prato Lungo, which means “Long Meadow” in Italian. What fascinated me the most was the fact that no one knows the exact variety of these trees, not even the experts at UC Davis. DNA tests have not been able to prove the identity, but they think they are related to the Picholine from France. The mysterious character of this olive oil has already piqued my interest.
Ed shows us the diamond shaped bottle that houses this special olive oil and I notice it is unlike anything you typically see. It’s design is sleek, elegant, and beautiful. The oil is poured into little tasting glasses that we cup in the palm of our hands to warm the oil. This releases the aroma of the oil so we can smell the characteristics. We all agree that is smells like fresh cut grass with a hint of fruit. I take a sip and notice that it’s light on the tongue, not oily, as contradictory as that may sound. It’s very smooth but has a kick of pepper at the end. This is a wonderful finishing oil to compliment many dishes and I can’t wait to take my bottle home and start experimenting in the kitchen. However, Ed tells me I’ll have to wait until May as they are currently sold out!
Stimulate Your Senses at Long Meadow Ranch
Long Meadow Ranch produces two award winning organic extra virgin olive oils, Prato Lungo and Napa Valley Select. Both are equally delicious and of the highest quality, certified by the California Olive Oil Council and California Certified Organic Farmers, yet distinctly unique. Long Meadow Ranch is a place where you will see beautiful surroundings, hear wonderful stories, smell and taste delicious food, wine, and olive oil, and feel welcomed. Long Meadow Ranch is a destination in Napa Valley that shouldn’t be missed! We’re going back in May to pick up our bottle of Prato Lungo. Want to join us?
Photos taken by The Grove and Company at Long Meadow Ranch, St. Helena, CA.